For twenty years, the cartoonist R. Sikoryak has been creating parody strips of literary masterpieces, casting familiar cartoon characters in classic roles — Little Lulu as Pearl Prynne, Little Nemo as Dorian Gray, Charlie Brown as Gregor Samsa. If you’re like me, and you sometimes like your serious literature with a side of Beavis and Butthead (see Sikoryak’s take on “Waiting for Godot”), you will probably laugh out loud over Masterpiece Comics, a collection of thirteen of these strips, just out from Drawn & Quarterly.
The above illustration is a reference to Albert Camus’ 'The Stranger', which happens to be one of my favorite stories (I like a lot the film adaptation with Marcello Mastroianni, too). Mersault is a character that I relate to in different things, though I’m not as void as he is. But I certainly share with him a quality of ‘strangeness’ and a certain lack of empathy for the way ‘normal’ humans function. The difference between us being that, while Mersault lacks the structures of the self to grant him a moral empathy -or even an amoral one- to other people, in my case is more a realization of the mechanisms that make people tick that makes them some kind of hypnotized, robotic, entranced puppets to my eyes. Their -yours- lives are like a.. pantomime for me. So many things just come as an illusion, a lie or just an absurdity to me. It’s like, when you’re a kid and wait for Santa and you go to sleep with the belief that this magical being will visit your house while you sleep and leave a present for you.. once you know it’s just your parents that bought it and put it there , that ‘magic’ just doesn’t make sense anymore. You won’t be excited trying to stay awake to get to see him or any of that. That’s one of the things that makes me relate to such a stranger. Also, this flexibility of my psychological structure has allowed me to experience different identities through my years of life, and after a while you get to a point when there’s no identity anymore, you’ve discarded all the disguises you could ever wear. I think a bit of that is reflected in this blog, and that’s why you can find a lot of different stuff here. In the end, the most amusing thing in my life, has been the deconstruction of my self. Here's a very interesting article someone wrote about this character. Worth a read for those interested.